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CHAPTER XII Verdict
Before I leave the jury of potent, grave and reverend Britishers to their own reflections on the subject before them, it may be well to indulge in a little summing-up.

I have shown that the fiery, untameable American is a creature of more than doubtful antecedents, and that he conceals beneath a veneer of smartness and originality several qualities of mind and heart that are not greatly to his credit. I have shown that his destiny would seem to lie in the direction of a reversion to a condition of pseudo-barbarism which will in many respects identify him with the aboriginal possessors of his country. Already the face, features and body of him are becoming plainly Red-Indianised. Already his talk contains hints and suggestions of “war-paint,” the “war-path,” the “tomahawk” and the getting of “scalps.” If I mistake not the rest is bound soon to follow.

I have shown also that the American woman, in so far as she is exhibited to us in London, and on the Continent of Europe, is a somewhat frivolous female, and not always comely; smart, possibly,[110] and lively, possibly, but on the whole disposed to be too smart and too lively. I have given you a peep at the American millionaire, and found him wanting in everything but money, and not invariably too well provided with that. I have pointed out that American advertising, whether for the sake of gain or of notoriety, is a shameless, blatant and undesirable affair. For the first time in history I have set it on record that the Americans eat too many pea-nuts. I have run the rule over their painful attempts at the dramatic art, and proved that in this important connection they have been responsible for many banalities and futilities, and that their average of performance is far below that of the rest of the theatre-using world. I have demonstrated, also, that their real metier is the giddy tenth-rate circus, ablast with drums and the roaring of wild beasts, the snuffling of freaks, and the shrieking mirth of the vulgar. I have paid a passing tribute to the integrity and blamelessness of their sportsmen. And I have warned them solemnly about pork. What more can be expected of me?

It is more than likely that I shall be told that I have chosen for the subject of my remarks a rather stodgy type of American, which is rapidly giving place[111] to a saner, wholesomer, and pleasanter type, resulting from the spread of culture and a modification of manners on the best European plans. To this I reply that I have spoken of the American exactly as he seems to me to be, and judged him on the numerous samples which have hitherto come my way. That there must be some residuum of sound and serious people in the United States seems probable, but I have never been to the United States.

Can anyone point to anything in the world that America is accomplishing which is purely and simply calculated to serve the highest interests of the human race? Can you look upon her trusts, her general methods of finance, her social and industrial system, her bosses, her political parties, the administration of her law, her press, her religious mountebanks, her quacks and charlatans of all conditions, and pronounce them to be good? Is it not the fact that these, in common with pretty well the whole of the remainder of her institutions, are not only defective, but a great deal more defective than one’s right to expect in view of the exceptional natural resources of the country and her great energy and wealth?

You are at liberty to answer these questions in any way you please; but[112] the conviction of myself and a by no means inconsiderable number of other persons will remain the same.

It is clear that if the Americans are going to take that exalted position among the nations to which they are for ever laying claim, they will be compelled to get rid of a great many excrescences of temperament which they seem now only too busy developing and emphasising by every means in their power.

Is it possible for them, in the nature of things, so to disencumber themselves?

Will they ever become a really free country, dethrone the millionaire and the boss and acknowledge honesty as a political virtue?

Will they ever put silencers on the yellow press and elect a congressional committee to examine the gangre............
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